First Steps

From Episode 66:

 

Prelude
I have to admit I kinda jumped over this point, because it was an non-issue for me. I knew what I had to do. Though I ran immediately into the problem that most people run into: I couldn’t get into therapy.
Even though I had the advantage that I knew what was wrong and what I needed - I didn’t get any. I was long term - therefor I didn’t get a spot. I kept contacting centers until I contacted the university clinic.
They agreed, if I allowed a student to therapy me. Which was fine with me, as I knew I was quite knowledgeable and just needed pointers. Which she provided. Sadly most aren’t as lucky as I was.
It is hard to find someone who truly knows what to do with severe trauma. Which leaves many just out of the loop and not knowing where to turn to. Doing nothing or worse fall prey to predators.
I was surprised why my episode “PTSD and its symptoms” was in such high demand - until I realized how bigger this problem was than I thought. Which changed my perspective - and plans - entirely.
So let us get into the first steps.

Clear Schedule
The first and most important step is to clear your schedule. Check everything you do and check if you REALLY have to do it. I mean EVERYTHING.
There is a lot of things we do because we do them. We had so far no reason to stop doing them - but now you received a serious diagnosis - so it is now time to pull the ripcord. Now is the time for pragmatism.
The faster you do that - the faster you get a good footing. Of course you are not supposed to kick out everything that isn’t essential like eating or sleeping. It IS important to have moments of joy and success moments.
But first we must clear our schedule from anything that we don’t need to survive… and then check those things IF we need to do them or so often or if we can do something more effective instead or the like.
It is very helpful to make a list of the non-survival things and rank them in their value and how much you need them. If possible use it to combine or find better alternatives.
It is crucial to free the schedule as much as you can.

Get Energy
The clearing the schedule serves multiple purposes. One of them is to get energy. You are most likely running on your last reserves and you need all the energy you can get. Even if you are still in a good spot.
It WILL get worse. The healing process is enormously energy consuming - so the more you have the better you heal. And getting energy while you are healing is a difficult process - so it is better not to rely on it.
Energy will be your most important factor to manage - as it is the factor that decided success, speed and smoothness of the healing process. And it will be your safety cushion in case something goes bad.
You need to free up as much as you can so you have as much of it as possible at your disposal. As soon as your brain has enough energy it will start the healing process and try to tackle the issue.
See the energy as your troops, any knowledge you gain regarding the topic is their Intel and the more energy - the better they are equipped. So the more energy, the more likely the success and the smoother it will be.

Cut out potential threats
Second step is to cut out all potential threats - at least for now. It is unwise to keep ignoring your triggers and the like, but at the start - when you have no idea what is going on - it is better to cut them out of your life.
That can be people, media, books, areas, cars - anything really. Regarding people I just want to say: Just because you cut them out for now, doesn’t mean you can’t rekindle or continue your relationship with them.
It is important to create a safe zone - as in a zone where you are safe from threats - and the like - to your mental health. It is important to note that this zone is meant as TEMPORARY shelter.
If you try to stay in the safe zone it will get over time smaller and smaller. This place is meant to catch your breath before you go at it again. This is just to counter your strong vulnerability due to this illness.

Get Help
Last - but not least - step is to get help. That doesn’t just refers to professional help. This can be a chat group you regularly in or a gaming group you play with … anything really that helps your situation.
Getting help is a great thing - I know for many this will hardly be their reality - but see if there isn’t a way you can get help besides a therapist. Be it books, groups, self-help-whatever or the like.
Every bit that helps is a good thing - but be careful that there aren’t any strings attached. You belong now to a vulnerable target group - which means you are getting preyed upon. So be very careful.
Good friends are always a wonderful thing, but especially now they can be invaluable. Otherwise I can only recommend pets. Careful though with accepting help that has an unknown price.
The vulnerable and desperate ones have always been the main target for vultures. Be careful, watch yourselves and take very good care of yourself.

Why is it so hard at the beginning?

From Episode 77:

 

Prelude
Taking the first step is truly the hardest. Especially if that step seems to land nowhere. Did you make the first step? Or did you just move without getting anywhere? Or did you not move at all?
The confusion and lack of evidence is really unhelpful. But that is part of the course - the confusion, the lack of direction, the misguidance, false way points and the like. PTSD is GREAT at sabotage.
Though the first step in reality is recognizing it. The best sabotage can be achieved by being undiscovered - therefor PTSD doesn’t want to be discovered or you doing anything.
So addressing and aiming to get better are already the next steps - the first one is exposing and recognizing this little saboteur. Therefor automatically limiting its effectiveness. Not making it go away, but it is a good start.

The uphill battle
There are many reason why for you the fight is so hard in the beginning, be it that the PTSD structures support one another and make it harder to penetrate or that you have less energy, because of the PTSD occupation or the like.
Also you don’t really know what to do. Of course you don’t - how could you? This is one of the things you learn with experience and doing it. The knowledge how to fight it, is usually not taught.
So you have barely any weapons or armor, exhausted and with almost no support - and you are up against a well supported and guarded and strongly armored enemy with horrendous weapons.
OF COURSE you’re having trouble fighting it. Why wouldn’t you? It is a sign of tremendous strength to rise up and fight it. It might not feel this way - especially after taking another hit - but it truly is a feat of strength.
But as crazy as it sounds given the description in the earlier sentence - that fight isn’t even remotely hopeless. On contrary - you are likely going to win. There is a way. For everyone it is a different one, but there is one.
So Kudos to you - for picking up the fight and facing it. The other good news is - that it gets easier, because it is a skill and the better you get at it - the faster and easier you can resolve any PTSD. Including future ones.
This way your viscous circle becomes a virtuous one. And that is where we trying to get to.